I loved writing my post about what I learned at 21 so, 2 years on from that post, I thought I’d return with some new lessons now that I’m hurtling through my 20s.
Tomorrow I turn 24 and, before a full existential crisis kicks in, I thought I’d let you into what I learned at 23.
1. Being the single friend isn’t all that bad
When I wrote the “Twenty one things I learned at 21” post, I was firmly in the dating game. It started as a way to write an article and soon blossomed into me going out on dates and, for the most part, enjoying them. There was a moment when I thought this could be my way out of being one of the only single people in my friendship group but, so far, it hasn’t gone that way.
Of course, as well as reaffirming the point I made in my other post like this one (that dating is hard), I’ve come to realise that being the single friend isn’t all that bad. There’s more to life than being on someone’s arm and, honestly, I’m enjoying spending time with loved ones and feeling more comfortable in my skin..something I wasn’t always feeling when I was dating.
2. Mom jeans are a game changer
I’m so late to the party with this one but, as someone who lives in leggings and jeggings, I have a complicated relationship with jeans.
Luckily, George at Asda has created the best jeans ever (in my opinion). The denim mom jeans are fashionable with a wide range of t-shirts and tops and, thankfully, they don’t compromise on comfort either. I haven’t fully been converted to jeans but this pair does make think that proper jeans aren’t as bad as I thought. I might not be a fashion blogger but one piece of fashion advice (if you can call it that) I’ll give is that Mom jeans are a game changer.
3. Working from home isn’t that bad
After finishing university , I went through a few jobs before finding my first full time job. Like many people, I went from navigating being a twenty-something in an office of mixed ages to navigating working full time..from home.
Though there are times when I wish I could experience office culture, and establish some friendships outside of my social circle, I’ve come to realise that working from home isn’t that bad (not just because I can listen to podcasts, or singly badly to my playlists, in peace!).
4. Losing someone doesn’t get easier with age
I lost a few family members when I was younger and I think grief was put in a bubble when I was younger, you had a good cry, thought about good memories with people and – aside from a few cries later down the line – that was grief. You didn’t feel like the grief was over but it felt manageable almost.
I lost my Grandad early last year and I realised that losing someone doesn’t get easier with age. Where I focused on the good with previous losses, I’ve struggled with this loss a lot more. Due to Covid and whatever else has been going on, I don’t feel as though I’ve grieved properly. I miss him terribly but I’ll never forget the good times I’ve had with him.
5. Houses take a lot of work
Thanks to the money left by our Grandad, and money we’ve saved up, my sister and I bought a house at 23. It’s been exciting but, after living in the same house since I was born, it’s slightly nerve wracking as well.
It turns out houses take a lot of work. I’m loving seeing the place take shape, though, and can’t wait to get in the completed place (hopefully) by the end of the year.
6. I love writing
If you’ve seen the Portfolio section of my blog, you’ll know — as well as my blog —- I do a bit of writing. Although my job isn’t related to my degree, I have continued writing after my degree.
I might not work in a job that I love but I’m glad I get to write outside of work as, although the writing and editing process is a bit tedious, I love writing. I’m incredibly humbled when someone reaches out about something I’ve written, even if I do get imposter syndrome still!
7. I need to stop mixing my drinks
I’m not a big drinker but, I’m not sure if it’s down to age or my tolerance lessening due to lockdown and “getting back out there”, I’ve started getting hangovers at 23.
Although easily remedied by a good nights sleep, something salty and a massive glass of orange juice won’t fix, every time I go out I am reminded that I need to stop mixing my drinks.
8. Saying “yes” is great
Before 23, I wasn’t a “Yes man”. I wasn’t exactly a “no man” (more a “maybe” man, if that’s a thing?) but — since life has started feeling more normal —- I’ve started saying “yes” more.
I’ve realised, though it might be a little expensive sometimes, saying “yes” is great. The pandemic has truly made me realise how short life is so I’m definitely taking whatever opportunities I can.
9. I don’t have to just read fiction
I’ll read anything and everything but I mostly read fiction (as anyone whose read this blog for a while will probably have figured out).
I’m realising that I don’t have to just read fiction. Whilst some non-fiction will never appeal to me, I’ve realised I shouldn’t write this genre off as a whole.
10. You might see your friends less, but it only makes you love them more
I’m no longer at school so, as well as no longer stressing about coursework and revision, I’m not seeing my friends 24/7.
It does make me sad, as my friends are getting on with life without me (and I’m having to pry the gossip out of them as opposed to it being practically on tap!), but I’m realising you might see your friends less, but it only makes you love them more. I do miss not seeing my friends as much but, when I do get to see them, it reminds me that — despite the changes going on in our lives — they are still the same every time I see them.
11. There’s more to life than disliking your body
In my late teens and twenties, I began to look at my body. Really look at it. This meant I compared my body to others and, in doing so, I found myself picking it apart and disliking it.
I’m beginning to realise that, whilst I will have moments when I don’t feel comfortable in my self, there’s more to life than disliking your body. My body is wonderful and capable and it gets me to so many great experiences with lovely people, so I should be more grateful and loving towards it.
12. I’m not old
I’ve found myself so many times saying “I feel old” and “23 is soooo old”.
I don’t particularly think any age is “old” but I’m realising that I’m not old and I hopefully have so much more life to live…I just need to stop worrying about getting old.
13. It’s ok to feel confident
I’ve been shy for as long as I remember but something is changing within me. Though he didn’t text me back, what a guy I met once said to me has really stuck “you’re too pretty to not be confident”.
Whilst it’s debatable whether I’m “pretty” or not (depends on the day 😂), I’ve realised things are much more enjoyable when you stop worrying and be confident. I’m still shy but it’s ok to be confident every once in a while.
14. You can’t beat a gig
Last night, I went to a gig and had a brilliant time. I might have been shoved around and had beer (and other things) spilled on me but I had a brilliant time with so many music lovers.
I like a night out but you can’t beat a gig.
15. I love trashy TV
Whilst it’d be great to say I loved watching interesting, educational documentaries, I just have to face facts: I love trashy TV.
It’s not the best quality of TV but it’s always very entertaining!
16. Family time is so valuable
The last few years, and some recent events, have made me realise just how important my family are.
I enjoy my own company, and time with my friends, but family time is so valuable. You never know how long you have with someone so I’d definitely recommend connecting and enjoying their company whenever you can.
17. I like white wine
I always drink spirits and gin but, in my twenty third year of life, I realised I like white wine.
This doesn’t mean I’m anywhere near being classy, though, don’t be fooled.
18. Take your makeup off after a night out
My skincare routine is lacking but one piece of advice I’ll give (whoever’s reading this, and myself) is take your makeup off after a night out.
It’s tempting after a few too many to sink straight into bed but you’ll thank yourself if your skins clear.
19. Be thankful for every opportunity
I’m not the most grateful of people but I’m learning, whether it be blogging or in general, to be thankful for every opportunity.
It’s very easy to compare success to others but I’m not going to focus on other people’s success, I’m just going to be grateful for what comes to me.
20. I don’t like cigarettes
When I was drunk the other day, I smoked a bit of a friend’s cigarette and I realised – or rather confirmed – I don’t like cigarettes.
They’re just gross and expensive 😂.
21. I’m so grateful for my sister
I’m probably feeling sentimental because it’s our birthday tomorrow but I’m so grateful for my sister.
We’ve had our ups and downs in our relationship but I’m so thankful for her continued love and support and I couldn’t ask for a better sister and best mate.
22. I don’t know what I’m doing
I’ve not got a five year plan (or even a five minute plan!) and getting older just makes me realise I don’t know what I’m doing.
I don’t know what I want from the next day, month, year like some people do.
23. Nobody knows what they’re doing
It’s very easy to think that everyone has it figured out, from word of mouth or their glossy Instagram feeds, but I’m learning that that’s not true.
Much like me, everyone is coasting through. Nobody knows what they’re doing but we’ll all get there in the end.